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by the scruff of (one's)/its/the neck

By the back of the neck (of a person or animal). My mom was so mad that she grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and hauled me into my room to be grounded. I had to yank the cat out from under the floorboards by the scruff of its neck. The boss took John by the scruff of his neck and warned him never to do something so foolish again.
See also: by, neck, of, scruff

by the scruff of somebody’s/the ˈneck

(hold somebody or an animal) by the back of the neck: The barman took her by the scruff of the neck and threw her out.
See also: by, neck, of, scruff


mod. sloppy; unkempt. Why don’t you clean up this scruff car? It’s—like—grody!


References in periodicals archive ?
"She's not used to being in cars, so I picked her up by the scruff and put her in.
"We put Scruff on to the jet ski and he walked around and sat down then I stood him on his back legs.
Each Scruff user has a wide array of contextually and temporally variable motivations and desired outcomes for using the service: Some seek face-to-face sexual encounters; some are looking for friendship or professional networking; and yet others use the service as a source of visual and interactive fantasy (see Crooks, 2013; Gudelunas, 2012b; Raj, 2011; Woo, 2013).
In fairness to Carberry, Cool Quest's cause was visibly harmed by interference and the case was nothing like as gruesome as that involving the Gordon Elliott-trained hotpot Martin Scruff.
A spokesperson said: "Kim Kardashian isn't the only person who mistakenly thinks that because a mother cat picks up her kittens by the scruff of the neck that a supportive hand under the rump isn't needed."
From loon chicks hitching a piggyback ride, to a kangaroo joey in its mother's pocket, to a lion cub carried by the scruff of its neck, each picture shows a different mode of travel--as opposed to human toddlers, who can move about on a bike or a wagon!
An onlooker near her North London flat said: "No one had a clue who this fella was."He was unshaven with shaggy hair - a bit of a scruff - but Suranne didn't care a jot.
If we won't face up, they grab us by the scruff of our necks and shake us into attention.
Newcastle took the game by the scruff of the neck with Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy also getting on the scoresheet along with Robert.
"He grabbed his difference by the scruff of the neck, wore it like a shield, and dared people to say it wasn't wonderful," testifies Michael Monette with a beaming grin.
Bennett chooses stories which grab you by the scruff of the neck and shake you by the shoulders.
After five years though I learned to stagger along w/ him so I could keep the pace and maybe catch him by the scruff of his neck when he started to fall.
She said one of the youths grabbed the cat by the scruff of the neck and hung it in front of an Alsatian dog - who then began mauling it to death.
The restriction hurt companies like Scruff, a dating and travel app for gay, bisexual and curious men that boasts more than 8 million users worldwide. While the company's Facebook page has more than 380,000 "likes," Scruff has been unable to advertise on Facebook since its last campaign in February 2014.
Chaos, Scruff, Trinity and Brindle have all been vainly searching for a loving home for more than a year.